According to Pan, some of substances found in any of these venoms could be effective anti-tumor agents.
But just injecting venoms into a patient would have side effects. So Pan and his team set out to solve this problem. In the honeybee study, his team identified a substance in the venom called melittin that keeps the cancer cells from multiplying. They synthesized melittin in the lab and conducted computational studies. Next, they did the test and injected their synthetic toxin into nanoparticles.
"The peptide toxins we made are so tightly packed within the nanoparticle that they do not leach out when exposed to the bloodstream and cause side effects," Pan explained. What they do is go directly to the tumor where they bind to cancer stem cells, blocking their growth and spread. The synthetic peptides mimicking components from other venoms, such as those from snakes or scorpions, also work well in the nanoparticles as a possible cancer therapy, researchers noticed The report was part of the ongoing 248th national meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world's largest scientific society, in San Francisco.